“‘I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel…” (Malachi 2:16a)
The “divorce” or “putting away” was the prerogative of the husband in a marriage. He could do so for many reasons because it had been allowed by the religious leaders. But this was never pleasing to God. His plan was for one man and one woman to live together for a lifetime.
It was to involve commitment more than anything else. When a putting away took place it was an insult to God and His plan from the beginning. Besides displeasing God in this way it hurt God because of the people involved. Many people get hurt in a divorce. It is not just two people who agree to separate but children, family members and friends are affected deeply. God hates to see this.
Besides applying to personal marriage relationships this can also apply to the marriage between God and His people. That relationship has been strained by the disobedience of His people. They have committed adultery through idolatry. God hates this strain and yet rejects divorce in favor of reconciliation through His Son Jesus’ death on the Cross.
God is willing to sacrifice His only Son to save His marriage to His people. Jesus was willing to be the intermediary or counselor to patch up humankind’s relationship with God. God is the marriage partner who will not give up but always seek to draw His people back to Himself.
Heavenly Father, human relationships are the hardest part of life. It is harder to get along with some people than others. In reality everyone marries a stranger. It takes a lifetime to get to know that person and that is challenging. It takes a lifetime to get to know our God also. In these relationships Lord, send Your Grace to make them strong. Draw us into Yourself and out of our self. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn and a guest columnist.